Texas Sen. Ted Cruz's presidential campaign released a new ad on Friday criticizing his GOP rival, Donald Trump, for once speaking highly of New York City's Democratic mayor, Bill de Blasio.
The ad highlights some praise that Trump directed at de Blasio during an interview with an Albany radio station in 2013. As Trump talks, a series of New York Post covers that cast the mayor's tenure in an unflattering light flash across the screen.
"I think he's a smart guy that knows what's going on and I think he's not going to want to destroy New York," Trump says about de Blasio in the ad. "He'll end up being a good mayor, maybe a very good mayor. I think he's going to want to make New York great."
"Perhaps Donald Trump doesn't know what the word 'great' means," the text at the end of the ad suggests.
As the liberal mayor of New York City, de Blasio has been an obvious target for Republican candidates seeking to curry favor with the state's conservatives ahead of Tuesday's primary. If Cruz can tie Trump to de Blasio, it may help cut into Trump's wide polling lead in the state.
In an interview with "Face the Nation" in January, host John Dickerson confronted Trump with the same praise of de Blasio highlighted in Cruz's ad, but the GOP frontrunner brushed the question aside.
"I never supported Bill de Blasio. I never supported. I said I think he's going to win, because I saw the kind of competition that he had. I never supported Bill de Blasio," Trump insisted.
"You said, 'I think pretty strongly that he will end up being a good mayor, maybe a very good mayor,'" Dickerson followed up.
"Well, I did say that, because I deal in New York," Trump acknowledged. "And, frankly, I hoped he was a good mayor. He's turned out to be a terrible mayor. He doesn't know what he's doing. I mean, the guy is incompetent. But when he first got elected, I didn't -- but that's not supporting him. Obviously, I have many buildings in New York. I have a tremendous business in New York...but I never supported him. I would never support him, with his issues."
"But what I did say is, good luck," Trump added. "Congratulations. I hope he's going to be a good mayor. I hope. I wish he would be a good mayor. He's not a good mayor. He's a terrible mayor."